The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 27, July 3, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Russ Rulau writes: "On Wednesday, June 22, it was
announced that Providence Equity Partners had resold KP
(formerly Krause Publications) for an undisclosed sum to
ABRY Partners LLC, like PEP, another private equity firm.

ABRY since 1989 has acquired 450 media properties,
supposedly making it the largest media-focused private
firm in North America.

Stephen Kent, president of F+W Communications, the
PEP subsidiary which has owned KP since 2002, was
terminated June 22 and Rick Groth, a KP publisher in Iola,
was cut on June 24. Neither were numismatists.

For those who may not be aware, Chet Krause won his
suit before the U.S. Trademark & Copyright Commission
and KP may not use the Krause name on anything. His
other suit for wrongful dismissal on Oct. 20, 2002 remains
in litigation. The KP logo is the property now of ABRY.

The effects on the numismatic division, already downsized
since 2002, are unknown at this time. I remain a freelance
author and writer for KP unless notified otherwise."


George Kolbe writes: "The finest international numismatic
library ever dispersed was sold on June 23rd and 24th, 2005
in Osnabrück, Germany by the firm of Fritz Rudolf Künker.
Comprising a total of 3,589 lots, the library formed by the
venerable Basel, Switzerland coin firm of Münzen und
Medaillen AG brought approximately 890,000 euros or,
including the 15% buyer premium, a total of 1.23 million
dollars. After the June 1, 2004 sale of Part I of the John J.
Ford, Jr. Library (1000 lots  at  1.66 million dollars), it is the
highest price ever achieved for a numismatic library in a single
auction sale. Bidders from all over Europe, and a few from
the United States, attended the sale and prices were generally
quite strong. A few highlights follow: a leather-bound set of
Forrer’s "The Weber Collection: Greek Coins" brought €2600;
a rare offprint by von Fritze on the ancient coins of Ilion sold
for €1000; an extremely rare volume of proof photographs
depicting the entire collection of ancient coins formed by S.
Pozzi opened at 2400 and ended up bringing €7250;
Robinson and Clements’ rare 1938 work on "The Chalcidic
Mint" sold strongly for €2700; Brause-Mansfeld’s two volume
work on siege coins opened and closed at €1600; Papadopoli’s
classic on the coins of Venice sold for €1700; classic nineteenth
century works on Russian coins and medals reflected the current
strong market for works in this field; key works on Islamic coins
brought typically good prices; Dugniolle’s classic work on Dutch
jetons sold for €1700; Habich’s classic multi-volume work on
German Renaissance medals realized €5200; Hill and de Ricci’s
two volumes on Renaissance medals and reliefs in the Dreyfus
collection sold at €6500; numismatic periodicals brought strong
prices, including Revue belge de numismatique, 1842-2000,
 at  €15,000, Revue numismatique, 1836-2003,  at  €18000;
Rivista Italiana, 1888-2003,  at  €17000, and Zeitschrift für
Numismatik, 1874-1935,  at  €26000. The principals and staff
of the Künker firm are to be congratulated on a job very well
done. A longer report will appear in a future issue of The Asylum."


It's non-numismatic, but numismatists can appreciate the
tenacity and attention to detail which led to the recovery
of a stolen stamp collection stolen worth today nearly a
million dollars. The following excerpts are from an
Associated Press story which hit the wires just before
noon today:

"A Florida man with an eye for detail led the FBI to part of
a stamp collection that showed up on eBay more than two
decades after being stolen from the home of a collector.

Stamp collector Michael Perlman, of Fort Lauderdale, had
pored over the black-and-white records of Charles J. Starnes'
collection. The original collection, with distinct pen marks and
imperfections, was taken in 1983.

So when Perlman was browsing Internet auction site eBay in
May and saw some of the same pen marks and imperfections
in color, he knew he had found part of Starnes' collection,
which was worth an estimated $350,000 when taken.

"It was a thrill to see it," Perlman, who had used Starnes' book
on the collection as a reference for 15 years, told The Midland
Daily News for a story Sunday. "You could see the hand markings,
and you see pen strokes, and you could tell this thing was an
exact item."

After spotting the eBay listing May 21, Perlman called authorities
and was in touch with the FBI the next day. He decided to buy
the 16 items on sale — a small portion of the collection — to
help find the seller.

After making a $11,400 bid for the set, Perlman contacted the
seller, who told him that she had more items in Tampa. Perlman
withdrew cash from the bank and set out for Tampa with an FBI

The two entered the seller's home on May 24, while other FBI
agents waited outside. Perlman said the seller — a widow of a
deceased coin collector — acted surprised when told the stamps
had been stolen."

"FBI spokeswoman Sarah Oates in Tampa said she was told
the collection could be worth nearly $1 million."

The collection was expected to be returned to Starnes'

To read the full story, see: Full Story

The AP article was based on a story that appeared this
morning in the Midland Daily News. Midland, Michigan
was the home of Charles Starnes, who assembled the

"The collection comprised six volumes made up of over
400 "covers," or envelopes with rare stamps and markings,
his most notable collections including U.S. "officials" --
stamps that had been issued by various departments of U.S.
government, and "destinations" -- covers that had traveled
to and from the U.S. and showed foreign rates from the

The thief or thieves who robbed Starnes's home must have
staked out his property for some time, said Starnes's friend
Robert Belfit, since the robbery occurred while Starnes was
hospitalized for severe arthritis. The thieves ripped open his
safe and stole nothing from his home but the covers, Belfit
said, and police never found a suspect.

But Starnes knew that one day the stamps would surface.
He turned over a complete set of black and white copies to
the FBI and told Belfit that in 20 years a collector would
recognize the set and in turn notify the authorities.

His prophecy was fulfilled May 21."

"Although Perlman got to keep his bag of cash, he didn't bat
an eye at the risk of losing almost $12,000, plus airfare and
travel costs.

"Stamp collecting is like a fraternity, and we all have a lot of
mutual respect for each other," he said. "I'd like to think if I
were a guy (who had lost stamps), and some 40-year-old
guy had the chance to recover my collection, he'd take the
initiative. We're like that."

No arrests have yet been made, but the FBI is currently

To read the full story, see: Full Story

[OK, I thought of a numismatic connection. On one of my
many visits to Jules Reiver's home in Wilmington, Delaware
in the mid-90s, he related a story about the handling of a
coin estate. The bank handling the estate was told of Jules'
expertise, and they brought him in to inventory and appraise
the collection. When finished, Jules asked the trust officer,
"where are the other coins?"

On being told there were no others, Jules said that he had
seen the collection before the gentleman died and noted
several valuable pieces were missing. After being reassured
that there were no other coins, Jules off-handedly said,
"It doesn't matter - if they were lost or stolen we'll find them
when they turn up."

When the trust officer asked him what he meant, Jules
said that since he was the national expert in these coins,
no matter where they turned up in the country, the coins
would ultimately be sent to him for attribution. And since
the coins were unique, Jules would know instantly that
they were stolen and from whom. "Don't worry - no one
will get away with stealing those coins."

Well surprise!, surprise!, surprise!, as Gomer Pyle would
say. The trust officer "remembered" that there was one
place he'd forgotten to look. He came back with another
package containing the coins.

Both Charles Starnes and Michael Perlman are true collector's
heroes, and numismatists would be well advised to follow
their lead: Starnes for documenting and publishing his
collection, and Perlman for putting two-and-two together
and acting quickly on his discovery. Perhaps Perlman, a
Florida native, could be asked to speak at next year's
F.U.N. show as a shining example to numismatists
everywhere. -Editor]


On July 2 the Watertown Times of Watertown, Wisconsin
profiled a local collector of WWII medals and memorabilia:

"With over 300 medals, hundreds of photographs, dozens
of uniforms, hats, boots and other World War II memorabilia,
Keith Moran, of Watertown, spends much of his free time
learning the faces and stories behind these items he collects.
This Fourth of July he plans to take a little extra time reflecting
on the veterans he's come to know."

"The item doesn't really mean a whole lot to me when I first
buy it," Moran said. "It's the story behind the medal or photograph
or uniform that strikes my interest and keeps me looking for more."

After Moran purchases an item he researches it in history books,
on the Internet, writes the government and even tries to contact
relatives or people who knew the person.

Moran's medals are his most cherished World War II items. The
purple heart, the air achievement and the distinguished flying cross
medals are those that he has been collecting since he was 15. His
interest lies in searching for medals from fighter pilots. With his
over 300 medals only 13 of them are from fighter pilots."

"Moran can put a story to almost every single name on the back
of the medals he owns. One of his most rare medals is a purple
heart from a soldier who was one of 50 men who died on the
USS Nevada at Pearl Harbor."

"Moran not only comes to appreciate his collection and the
people behind the items, but he appreciates the holidays such
as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July that are meant to
remember war veterans."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[To all of our readers in the U.S.. - have a happy and safe
Fourth of July holiday. -Editor]


Fred Lake writes (in a note to NBS President Pete Smith):
"Florida United Numismatists (FUN) is sending four of the
Special Edition "Redbooks" that were handed out at our 50th
Anniversary Banquet to the Secretary/Treasurer of the Numismatic
Bibliomania Society (we are sending all FUN clubs that number.)
Hopefully, you will have them in time for the July 29th NBS book
auction at San Francisco. They should help the treasury !!!"

[Many thanks to FUN and Fred. NBS dues are kept low and
funds raised at the annual auction help keep the organization
running. Please consider making a donation of numismatic
literature items. -Editor]


On June 30th the Chicago Tribune reported "The White House
on Wednesday allowed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to review
portions of the FBI background file for a top State Department
nominee, hoping to answer questions about her confirmation by
resolving a concern over a controversial statement she made in

Last week, Obama delayed a vote on the confirmation of Henrietta
Holsman Fore as undersecretary of state for management, the top
human resources job at the State Department. The senator sought
access to her file, which he believed could clear up inconsistencies
in her explanation of a racial comment she made during a speech
at Wellesley College.

With a lawyer from the White House counsel's office standing by,
Obama studied the file for about 30 minutes in his office."

"The file itself added to the confusion," Obama said. "I want some
sincere expression from her as to what happened, why it happened
and if she feels regret about it.

"She gets one last chance," he said."

"While it only takes one senator to delay a confirmation vote, no
other senators have publicly voiced concern. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice said she stands behind Fore's nomination."

Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "Not only was New Jersey numismatist,
attorney and E-Sylum subscriber Donald Scarinci named to the
Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee this June, but his book
on one of the framers of the U.S. Constitution was published
in June as well.

Numismatic News in its June 14, 2005 issue carried the story
of Scarinci’s CCAC nomination by a California Senator and
appointment approval by U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow.
Scarinci joins ten other members of the citizens’ committee to
advise both the Treasury and U.S. Mint on the concept and
suitability of our country’s coin and medal designs. Congress
recommends four of the committee’s members, the Treasury
names the remaining seven.

A 20-year collector whose initial numismatic interests were in
America’s Colonial and early American era coins, Scarinci five
years ago turned to art medals in a big way for the medallic
beauty they contain. He has developed a keen eye and insight
into what makes good design and great medallic art -- ideal
for the work he must do on the citizens advisory committee.

He has collected examples of great medallic art of the past
plus the works of living American artists, as well as overseas
art medalists. He has attended the last two FIDEM conventions
of world art medalists in Europe and exhibitions in this country
of the American medallic sculptors’ group, AMSA.

For 18 months Scarinci has been deep into another research
project, this one on America’s most famed art medal series,
The Society of Medalists. He is planning a comprehensive work
on the fine art medal series as his next book project. Already he
has interviewed the majority of living artists who had created
Society issues and five officials of the Medallic Art Company
which struck the art medal series over a 75-year period,

Last Monday, June 27th, New Jersey Media columnist Herb
Jackson wrote in his column "Capital Games" about Scarinci’s
new book. It’s about someone you have never heard of, David
Brearley, Jackson notes. Brearley just happened to be a Colonial
jurist, a chief justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1779
and one of the framers of the U.S. Constitution. Sorry he is so

Perhaps that is one reason Don wrote about him –– he wants to
change that. Don served as legal councel to the governor’s
transition team in 2002. The transition office in Trenton was
across the street from the New Jersey State Archives. Don’s
searching there discovered a cache of letters and documents
about Brearley, including such issues of modern-day importance
as how much power the president should have versus Congress
to appoint judges, government ministers and ambassadors.

Brearley headed a constitutional committee, Don relates in
the book, "David Brearley and the Making of the United States
Constitution." just one of its accomplishments was the creation
of the electoral college. This effects us 212 years later, columnist
Jackson points out, in how a president could lose the popular
vote and still win a presidential election (a la, George W. Bush
in 2000).

"There is an interesting numismatic hook to David Brearley,"
Don told me recently. "He was a signer on New Jersey Colonial
notes of 1780 and 1781. The John Ford example of the extremely
rare uncut sheet of notes of 1780 from New Jersey is now in
my collection."

Scarinci is senior partner in Scarinci & Hollenbeck, a law firm in
Lyndhurst, New Jersey, which has over four dozen lawyers on
its staff and is councel to 50 New Jersey municipalities and
government agencies. The growing firm recently moved to
Lyndhurst for larger quarters from its previous offices in Secaucus.

Read Herb Jackson’s article on Don’s new book even if you
are not a lawyer. You just might want to read the book! You
will find the article at: Full Story


Steve Woodland writes: "I would like to say a great big
thank-you to those E-Sylum readers who responded to
my request in The E-Sylum v8n23 for ideas, suggestions
and references for starting a Coin Club for the children
in my daughter's school in Metcalfe, just south of Ottawa,
Canada. Response was both terrific and immediate. In
fact, I was online when the E-Sylum issue arrived in my
mailbox and I had received two responses by the time I
had finished reading!

I received several emails with offering encouragement,
great ideas and suggestions, and material to help the kids
get interested in coin collecting. Special thanks go out to
Dave Allen, Larry Gaye, Jim Majoros, Katie Jaeger,
Dick Johnson, Myron Xenos, Bill Fivaz, Lane Brunner
and Wayne Homren. I'll keep you posted on how it goes!"


Katie Jaeger writes: "I am finishing off researching a short bio
of Charles Cushing Wright. On a list of specimens donated to
the New York Public Library in 1939 by one of Wright's
descendants, I found the descendant had written the following
comment beside the listing for the Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
medal of 1820:

"The first die sunk in steel by an American artist in the U.S."

Then in Hibler-Kappen's work on So-Called Dollars, p. 3,
in the description of Wright's Erie Canal Medal, they refer to
Wright as "America's first die sinker," prompting me to wonder
if there are any earlier examples of an American-born die
sinker creating steel dies for medals, coins, or anything else.

I had the opportunity to do some new archival research and
discovered an answer to my own question: In the New York
American of Jan. 25, 1830, in an announcement that C.C.
Wright had embarked on a series of medals of Washington,
the writer noted that Wright was "the first artist in this country
who engraved medal likenesses on steel". That seems a more
plausible statement. So ... Does anyone know of an
American die-sinker placing a portrait likeness on a medal
die, prior to 1820?"


Dr K.A. Rodgers of Auckland, New Zealand writes:
"You had an item about a Zebulon Pike medal in the
recent newsletter. When he worked for the Franklin Mint
in its early days, sculptor Philip Nathan (Britannia bullion
designs among others) designed a Zeublon Pike medal.
One was sold on eBay not so long ago."


Dick Johnson writes: "I caught about ten minutes of NBC’s
special "Greatest American" with Matt Lauer while channel
surfing last week. It seemed to be a combination of team
debate and pep rally. Then I read the results in the Monday
paper after the Sunday finale. Ronald Reagan minutely
squeaked past Abraham Lincoln in a five-way race with Ben
Franklin, George Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.

It set me to thinking who would be such a winner for
Greatest American on Medals. No contest. George Washington
would win hands down. More medals have been created
honoring him in just about every aspect one could imagine.
Abraham Lincoln would indeed be second. Then who?

In sheer quantity of medals honoring an American, we might
be surprised the astronauts would not be included. They
would have except for the fact it was a team effort without
one astronaut being singled out. There was a great outpouring
of medals issued around the world following the 1969 Moon
Walk but not a single Neil Armstrong medal. Team America

Americans tend to pick individual heroes for "greatest American"
as reflected in their medallic art. Here is a list of the top ten by
number of medals issued:

1 – George Washington
2 – Abraham Lincoln
3 – Benjamin Franklin
4 – John F. Kennedy
5 – Charles Lindbergh
6 – Marquis de Lafayette
7 – Thomas Jefferson
8 – Thomas Edison
9 – Mark Twain
10 – Albert Einstein "


According to a June 27th story in the Philippine Daily Inquirer,
Philippine museum officials "found out too late that fishermen on
Rapu-Rapu Island had discovered late last year a sunken
Spanish galleon that contained gold and silver coins, jars and
other valuable treasures.

More than a thousand 17th- and 18th-century Spanish coins
were recovered from the wreckage but only fewer than 20
pieces could be left because the fishermen had quietly sold the
items to treasure hunters and collectors, Legazpi Museum
curator Erlinda Belleza said, citing a report by two residents
of Barangay Viga in Rapu-Rapu."

"The business was so brisk and profitable that fisherfolk in
Barangay Viga and neighboring villages temporarily stopped

Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean and Filipino businessmen and
collectors coming from Manila had frequented the village to
buy as many coins and other items as possible, the two
whistle-blowers said. The price of each coin ranged from
P6,000 to P10,000."

"Out of curiosity, Charles said he bought four gold and five
silver coins, which he believed were the only ones left of the
old Spanish coins recovered from the sunken galleon."

"The four gold coins were dated 1862, 1863 (two pieces)
and 1868, while the five silver coins were dated 1792, 1801,
1867, 1882 and 1887."

"Historians and anthropologists, both here and abroad, have
considered Rapu-Rapu Island a sanctuary for galleons, based
on historical documents provided by the Legazpi Museum.

Due to strong waves from the Pacific Ocean, many Spanish
galleons coming from Sorsogon found Rapu-Rapu a safe
haven for their voyage to other parts of Albay. But some of
them reportedly sank off the coast of Rapu-Rapu.

"So, most likely, there are still many treasures left. That's why
we are asking for the expertise of the National Museum on
this matter before it's too late," Belleza said."

To read the full story, see: Full Story

[I'm not sure how many "galleons" sailed the high seas after
1887, but it seems the fishermen made a significant find.
It's a shame the underwater archaeological site was disturbed
and the coins dispersed. Had any of our readers gotten word
of this source of shipwreck coins? -Editor]


Tom Fort, Editor of our print journal The Asylum, sends the
following story from The Independent, published June 28,

"More than 30,000 books, including 1,000 rare and priceless
items, are believed to have been stolen from the French national
library in Paris.

So chaotic are the library's cataloguing and security systems
it is impossible to know when books were stolen. Some may
have been "lost" in an institution that houses 35 million objects.
But a year-long investigation by the president of the Bibliothèque
Nationale de France (BNF) found the library had been
systematically pillaged over many years."

"Many of these are relatively valueless copies of 19th- and 20th-
century works of literature or history. The BNF, like the British
Library in London, is given a copy of every book published in

More disturbingly, 1,183 priceless books or documents from
the library's "precious core" cannot be traced. More than 200
of these are medieval manuscripts or books from the dawn of
the age of printing."

"In 1996, the library moved to a new home, the Bibliothèque
François Mitterrand, beside the Seine in eastern Paris. Security
is now said to have been greatly tightened. But many ancient
texts and manuscripts are still stored in the original building in
central Paris."

Full Story

Tom adds: "There is at least one highly important numismatic
item among the missing material: The best preserved seal of the
English ruler Edward the Confessor (1042-1066). It was
attached to a writ granting an estate in England to the church
of St. Denis in Paris. The strip of parchment connecting the two
items disintegrated sometime before 1850. The last published
photo of the seal (and the writ, which is not missing) can be
found in T.A.M. Bishop and P. Chaplais, Facsimilies of English
Royal Writs to AD 1100 (Oxford, 1957), pl. XVIII. This 11th
century wax seal, which uses the same image that appears on
the obverse on the king's Sovereign/Eagles type, went missing
sometime in the late 1960s/early 1970s. One can only hope
that the box containing it was simply misplaced in the massive
BN collection."


Dick Johnson writes: "Henry Grunthal, a long-time coin
dealer who worked for the American Numismatic Society
his last decades before retiring, had the greatest collection
of "numismatics" misspellings. He had an advantage,
however, in adding to his collection – he just read the
incoming letters from the public at the ANS office and set
aside the envelopes with the best bloopers.

He mentioned this frequently, especially at talks he gave
before coin clubs. His favorite: "Numerastics."

I flog anyone who mispronounces the word in my presence
with a mnemonic device. Think of an attractive young lady
you have never met lying on a rug holding a coin in her hand.
New - Miss - Mat - Ics. Remember that!

And if you can’t remember that mental image replace the
attractive young lady lying on a mat with a new Miss America.
And if THAT doesn’t work replace her with Donald Trump!"

[I once had a similar collection of misspellings of my own last
name from various mailing envelopes: Holmgren was a
fairly common one. I believe Horman, Hommern, and
Hemren were others. I relented and threw them away
when my wife gave me a "God, how dorky is THAT"
look. -Editor]

Alan Roy writes: "I just wanted to add something to the
list of "alternative" spellings of "numismatics." The Royal
Canadian Mint produced this phonecard for a coin
convention, specifically, the American "Numisimatic"
Association Convention in Denver, "Colardo." Here's
a picture: Full Story "

[The picture's caption notes, "Because of two spelling errors,
only a little more than a hundred of these cards were issued."
Affinity credit cards and phone cards for numismatic
associations are an interesting collecting sideline. I was one
of the members who first suggested the ANA produce an
affinity credit card. I still have the first card somewhere. I
believe there were versions produced with images of the
1804 dollar and 1913 Liberty head nickel from the ANA
museum collection. Has anyone ever catalogued them?


Roger deWardt Lane of Hollywood, Florida writes:
"Numismatics does get misunderstood!

Your story on the misspelling of numismatics reminded me
of a local story. I have told this several times over the years;
it always gets a good laugh.

Years ago, the Florida state coin association was holding their
convention in Miami. The dealers were staying at the Everglades
Hotel, a tall hotel on Biscayne Blvd, facing the park filled with
stately royal palm trees.

Several coin dealers were in the hotel elevator along with a
family of tourists. The coin dealers each had the well-recognized
large orange badges with the initials FUN. One of the tourists
turned to the dealer and said, “What does ‘FUN’ stand for?”
The reply was – "Florida United Numismatists." Hearing this,
the visitor said, “What church domination is that?” Well, the
coin people got a good laugh our of this, and I have been
repeating the story every since."


Bloomberg News reported on June 30 that "Jack Nicklaus will
feature on a 5-pound note to be issued by Royal Bank of
Scotland Group Plc to commemorate his last appearance as a
professional golfer in the British Open at St. Andrews."

"No living person other than a member of the British royal family
has ever appeared on a Scottish or English banknote.

``That's pretty special,'' Nicklaus said on a conference call today. `
`The tribute that RBS has done for me is unbelievable and one
I have a hard time fathoming.''

"Nicklaus said he could think of no better way to end his career
than at the so-called home of golf.

``It's a very special place.''

Full Story


Larry Gaye writes: "I'll have to join Howard Spindel in my
report of the new nickels in our area. To date, two Keel Boats,
one Peace: nothing newer. I recall in a visit to Atlanta Georgia
back in October 2004 I received 10 in one store. Portland,
Oregon seems to be on the black list for newly issued coins."


Eric Newman writes: "In your most recent bulletin there was
a comment about Hetty Green's long black dress which she
wore until it wore out. I understand that the inside lining or
petticoat of that dress had sewn-in security pockets so that
she could safely receive and deliver bought and sold securities
to and from her vault."


Eric Newman adds: "As to the Charles J. Collins, Jr. book
entitled "The History of the United States Mint in New Orleans"
discussed in your recent comments, there is also a very rare
pamphlet on the general subject published in 1845 by Riddell
entitled "The New Orleans Mint and the Process of Coinage, "
of which I have located only one other copy. The text of
the pamphlet was reprinted in the April 1968 issue of The


Dick Johnson writes: "A big "thank you" for the great Featured
Web Site in last week’s E-Sylum. Carl N. Lester’s article was
fascinating reading. Thanks too, to Heritage Auctions for keeping
it up on their web site. Please don’t ever take it down.

It also was cause for more Schulman memories to flood my mind.
Everyone, it seemed, questioned Hans about his dealings with
King Farouk. It was bittersweet remembrances for him.

Hans may not have recovered all he was owed by the Egyptian
government from the auction of Farouk’s collection after the king
was forced to abdicate. With the expenses of attorneys in both
Egypt and elsewhere it set him back for several years.

The Palace sale was a boon to the American dealers and collectors
who attended in person. They were invited to visit other parts of
the palace (and view Farouk’s other collections – one of which
was a massive pornographic collection). The night life in Cairo
was an attraction for those Americans–both dealers and collectors
–who flew to the Egyptian capitol. Can you say "belly dancers"?

Hans related to me that in the heyday of his dealing with Farouk
his office staff would come in each morning, fill the king's order
of numismatic items, send it off registered mail, and take the
rest of the day off. But it pinpoints the business error of having
only one customer (or one supplier)!

Even so Hans remained on friendly terms with Farouk. Once
he sent me two Christmas cards he had received from Farouk.
One pictured the Egyptian palace, the following year it was a
commercial card. Several years later I mentioned to him I
still had them and he requested he wanted them back. I complied.

Farouk was an indulgent person. He indulged in anything that
took his fancy. He was noted for liking poker, potato chips,
and corpulent mistresses (perhaps to support his own massive
weight). One story they tell about him - He was playing poker
with friends, he held two kings, his opponent three queens.
When the cards were shown, Farouk said "I win." "But you
only have two kings," said his opponent.

"I am the other king," said Farouk as he grabbed the pot."


On June 30, the Associated Press reported this story from
Frago, North Dakota: "A lawyer for two sisters accused of
making counterfeit money says his clients deserve a lighter
sentence -- because the bills were so bad."

"Attorney Monty Mertz argued at a federal court hearing that
guidelines call for a lighter sentence when counterfeit money
is so obvious that clerks are unlikely to accept it. He called
the bills "Monopoly money.''

Secret Service Agent John Kelly testified that even though
the bills were poorly made, most clerks at larger stores
would take them."

To read the full story, see: Full Story


Speaking of counterfeiting, while flipping though George
Burnham's 1872 book, "Memoirs of the United States
Secret Service," a word caught my eye: "Koniacker".
One chapter in the book is titled "The Great South Western
"Koniacker," Fred Biebusch" "Koniacker" means counterfeiter.
Has anyone ever encountered this term before?


While searching for the term "koniacker" I blundered
across a document on the web titled "Countering the
Counterfeiters: Counterfeiting, Counterterrorism and
Homeland Security: Finding the Perfect Defense," a
2002 publication of Lancaster University's Centre for
Defence and International Security Studies.

Interestingly, Google found the word no where else
on the web. From the document summary:

"This Memorandum analyzes current and future counterfeiting
threats, most immediately and seriously to the U.S. dollar,
especially the $100 bill. It also puts these threats in the historical
perspective of the centuries old struggle between governments
and counterfeiters. The already urgent need to counter these
threats from counterfeiters has been reinforced by the welcome
success of the American, British and Australian campaign to
liberate Iraq because, in the post-war reconstruction, U.S.
currency reportedly may be used as an interim Iraqi currency."

"With counterfeit-derived resources, terrorists can, in effect,
self-finance. Along with ill-gotten gains from other criminal
activity, this enables hostile groups to recruit new members
and acquire new weaponry."

To read the full document, see: Full Story


In another book I recently discovered an interesting story of
an 1865 seizure of fifty thousand dollars in spurious postal
currency, also documented in The New York Times of
November 20, 1865. From "Knots Untied: Ways and
By-Ways in the Hidden Life of American Detectives" by
George S. McWatters, 1873:

"One exceedingly skillful engraver of bogus postal currency
has been especially marked as the most dangerous operator,
inasmuch as his execution was so perfect as frequently to
deceive even the Government officials.... The man in
question is an English engraver, by the name of Charles J.

"The counterfeit pieces which he made... were copies of
the latest issue of fifty cent postal currency."

Given the date of the incident I presume that by "postal
currency" is meant what we now refer to as fractional
currency. Today we properly refer only to the first issue
of fractional notes as postal currency.


Several folks wrote in about my proposed rumor about the
bison "body part". One can get away with zingers like that
in an informal email publication, but they wouldn't get past
the editor of a print publication. I just couldn't resist. David
Lange quipped, "If a die crack forms there, will it be known
as the Viagra variety?"


This week's featured web page is from the Special Collections
& College Archives of Lafayette College in Easton, PA.
The page summarizes parts of the college's Marquis de Lafayette
memorabilia collection, including metalware (plates and spoons),
textiles (clothing, banners, drapery), personal accessories (rings,
locket, watch) and weapons (swords, musket). The items either
depict Lafayette, or have some documented or purported connection
to him. Of interest to numismatists is the Medal and Ribbon

"... a fine collection of 18th and 19th-century medals and ribbons.
Over 140 medals and medallions are housed in this collection,
and were struck in France and the United States. Every medal
in the collection is somehow related to Lafayette, with most
medals carrying a portrait of Lafayette in relief on the obverse
side. In some instances, the medals refer to specific historical
events in which Lafayette participated, but do not hold a Lafayette
portrait. More than 60 different medals are included as well as
several copies and variations of specific medals.

The earliest medal appears to have been issued in 1789, and the
most recent medals date from the present day. Approximately
30 medals date prior to 1800 and were issued in commemoration
of Lafayette's participation in the French Revolution. Approximately
50 medals date after 1800 and up to 1834. These medals refer to
Lafayette's 1824-25 tour of America, his last political involvements
in France ca. 1830, and his death in 1834. Another fifty-plus
medals date from the latter part of the 19th century onward."

Featured Web Site
  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

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